History of Beauty edited by Umberto Eco and On Ugliness

beautyHistory of Beauty is a heavy lift by many standards. Filled with sumptuous color plates (it is a Rizzoli book, enough said), and writing by Alastair McEwen, so maybe that’s why the edited by….never mind, argh.

Beauty is dissected and poked and rotated and placed in context and related contexts under your head will explode. It is a fantastic read if you only read one sentence at a time and mull it over, maybe reading it three times while you think about what was said. If the room you are in is very quiet, you might venture a paragraph, but not while hungry or tired or with an upcoming appointment.

The book begins with a lovely survey of various classifications of beauty through time, nude men and women of course were an easy find, plus Venus, Madonnas; I should have expected it after the male beauty included George Clooney under the “Clothed Adonis” category, but I did not and laughed out loud at the appropriate inclusion of a 1991 photograph of Madonna.

Continue reading History of Beauty edited by Umberto Eco and On Ugliness

American Fascists by Chris Hedges

book cover figure of Jesus wrapped in the flagAmerican Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

Really excellent!

“Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told us that when we were his age–he was then close to 80–we would all be fighting the ‘Christian Fascists.’ The warning, given to me nearly 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality ¬†of the leaders in the Christian Right who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors in America had found a mask for fascism in patriotism and the pages of the Bible.”